Tennessee is trying to return to glory in the world of college football and Butch Jones has them going in a good direction with the talent they have brought in with the Vols last few recruiting classes.
They landed two good quarterback prospects in the 2015 recruiting cycle and they just landed an even better one in their 2016 class with a commitment from Bergen Catholic (New Jersey) quarterback Jarrett Gurantano. He might have the best natural arm strength out of any quarterback in his class and has the chance to develop into a heck of a player in the SEC East.
He’s a very good athlete with outstanding long speed. He’s a good enough athlete to play wide receiver if quarterback didn’t work out for some reason. He has measurables teams are looking for in a quarterback who can win from the pocket and should be able to gradually gain weight and strength during his time in Knoxville.
Guarantano has natural arm strength. The ball just zips out of his hand. He throws a tight football and can often get away with not having ideal mechanics to help his velocity because he can still sling it like so many other quarterbacks can’t. He can take chances other quarterbacks are not able to as well because he is able to fit the ball in tight windows when he releases the ball at the appropriate time.
I’m not a guy who cares too much about arm angles, but he has a short, compact release and can get the ball out quickly. Although he shows he can be calm and balanced in the pocket, he does have inconsistent footwork at times. Like I mentioned before, it doesn’t have too much of a negative affect on his arm strength. It has more to do with accuracy and ball placement. It’s something he can improve on at the next level.
I love what he can do out of the pocket. He has the athleticism to escape the rush and can make difficult throws on the run. He has to be accounted for as a runner too. He’s not a huge make-you-miss type of player in the open field, but if he does make a defender miss, he can make the defense pay because he has the speed to gain big chunk yardage.
The game versus St. Peter’s Prep showed a lot of where Guarantano is at in terms of reading from the pocket. That game the coverage was quite a bit better than in previous games and that made him be a lot less decisive with his decisions and forced to him to go through progressions and find underneath receivers at times. You could see his accuracy wasn’t what it was because it wasn’t as easy as seeing the first read and letting it loose.
At the same time, there is a natural maturation process of a quarterback and Guarantano was still hanging in and taking shots and making throws. He faced good competition in games after that and you could see improvement in some of the things he didn’t do as well at during that St. Peter’s Prep game.
Butch Jones had success with dual-threat quarterbacks at Central Michigan and Cincinnati and I don’t see Guarantano not being utilized in the same kind of way Jones was able to take advantage of some of his previous quarterbacks’ strengths. He’s a spread quarterback that should fit in well at Tennessee.
Guarantano has one of the highest ceilings out of any quarterback in this recruiting class. I don’t like the term arm talent, but it sounds right when talking about him. The ball just looks different coming out of his hand. If he improves his footwork in the pocket like he should, he has the chance to be a great one for the Vols.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).